Special Election Keeps Ohio’s 6th District in GOP Hands

Michael Rulli will represent Ohio’s 6th Congressional District through year’s end and must face Democrat Michael Kripchak again in November’s regular election.

Voters in eastern Ohio’s 6th District have chosen Republican Michael Rulli to fill their vacant congressional seat through the end of the year.

The Associated Press projected Mr. Rulli as the winner of the contest at 9:02 p.m. ET.

Mr. Rulli handily defeated Democrat Michael Kripchak in the June 11 contest to replace Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), who resigned in January to accept the presidency of Youngstown State University.

The win ensures that the slim Republican advantage in the House is not further eroded as Congress heads into the appropriations process, which will set federal spending levels for the upcoming fiscal year.

With Mr. Rulli’s victory, the Republicans hold a 219 to 213 majority in the House. That means the GOP must have all but two of their members voting for any legislation to pass, which has sometimes proven difficult in the current Congress.

The two candidates will face off again in November’s general election, and the winner will claim the seat for two years beginning Jan. 3, 2025.

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With this result, Republicans once again hold 10 of Ohio’s 15 congressional seats.

The Candidates

Mr. Rulli, 55, is a second-term state senator from Salem, a city of 12,000 in Columbiana County. He is the operations director for his family’s century-old Rulli Bros. grocery stores. His platform emphasizes economic growth, energy independence, and public safety.

Mr. Kripchak, 42, of Youngstown, is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a former Air Force officer. He ran on a platform to “restore the American Dream” by re-establishing manufacturing, improving K-12 education, and freeing independent farmers from the control of big agricultural companies.

Mr. Rulli had the advantage in funding, having spent more than $600,000 on this race as of May 31, according to FEC filings, compared to about $7,500 spent by Mr. Kripchak. Mr. Rulli also enjoyed the backing of prominent Ohio Republicans including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

Both candidates won their respective primary elections on March 19.

District Moving Rightward

Ohio’s 6th District includes farmland and industrial towns in eastern Ohio, stretching mostly along the Ohio River from Mahoning County south to Washington County. The district includes East Palestine, where the derailment of a train carrying hazardous chemicals resulted in an explosion and fire in 2023.

The current configuration of the district was judged unconstitutional in 2022 by the Ohio Supreme Court, which ruled that it was gerrymandered in favor of Republicans.

However, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Ohio and other groups, told the court last year that it would accept the House district maps approved in March 2022 and used in that year’s election “in lieu of the continued turmoil brought about by cycles of redrawn maps and ensuing litigation.”

In recent elections, the 6th District has moved rightward, notably in its largest metropolitan area, Mahoning County, home to the working-class city of Youngstown. In 2020, President Donald Trump became the first Republican to win the county since the 1970s.

The district has been in Republican hands for the last 14 years. The Cook Political Report, an independent rating agency, lists the seat as “Solid Republican.”

Why Special Elections?

Special elections are held when a congressional seat is vacated due to the death, resignation, or expulsion of a member. This contest was the seventh special election conducted during the 118th Congress.

In the six previous contests, five of the seats were retained by the same party as the outgoing member of Congress.

New York’s 3rd Congressional District changed hands after Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) was expelled from the House. Democrat Tom Souzzi won a special election for that district in February.

Mr. Souzzi had held the seat for three terms before Mr. Santos’s election in 2020 but retired to run for governor that year.

The remaining special elections for the House will be held for the Colorado 4th District on June 25, the New Jersey 10th on September 18, and the Wisconsin 8th on November 5.

The Colorado and Wisconsin seats are rated as “Safe Republican” by the Cook Political Report, and the New Jersey seat is rated as “Safe Democrat.”

California and Nebraska will hold special elections on November 5 to fill vacancies in the U.S. Senate.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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